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ABOUT JANE GENOVESE Jane Genovese is a public speaker, university graduate of Law and Arts (majoring in Psychology) and passionate global warming advocate. She became concerned about global warming after reading an article on Artic Eskimos losing their way of life due to rapid climate change. This motivated her to study Environmental law and International Environmental law at university. Shortly after, she created the “Global Warming: Too Hot to Handle?” workshop and this book with her mother, Sharon. In her spare time, Jane enjoys salsa dancing, watching good documentaries and going to the gym.

Contact Details PO Box 32 Bullcreek Post Office Bullcreek Western Australia 6149 Web: Email: © 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank my family for their passion and commitment to do whatever they can to combat global warming. Without their concern and stand, this book would not have been possible. They have inspired me to be responsible for my actions and future. Special thanks to my mum for the countless hours she spent illustrating this book and to my dad and brother for all their help too. Thanks to my environmental law lecturers as well as Ben Rose and Al Gore for waking me up to the climate crisis and calling me into action. Thanks to the team at for all their support and inspiring me with the idea of creating this ebook. Special thanks also to my wonderful Master Mind Alliance group (Chris, Ned and Bridget). Thanks to Rob and Brenda at Environment House. Their commitment to helping the community live greener and cleaner lives is an ongoing source of inspiration. I would also like to thank my good friends, Zayd Azmi, Dean Lasslet and Gerald Zeng, for their feedback and help in compiling the book. This book is for you all.

Jane Genovese Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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HOW TO USE THIS BOOK This book contains a series of mind maps. You may be thinking ‘What is a mind map?’ A mind map is a creative way of displaying information, which involves exaggerated images, different colours and curved lines radiating from a central idea. Why have I bothered to use mind maps? A mind map is an effective way of learning new information. The colours, branches and images stimulate your mind and allow you to remember information more easily. Mind maps also give you an overview of a large subject area and help you to make connections faster between different ideas. I know how easy it is to become overwhelmed and confused when reading about climate change, and I don’t want this to happen to others. It was never my intention to make fun of this serious topic through the use of mind maps, just to simply illuminate the subject and make it easier for people from all walks of life to understand. That’s why I have included mind maps. As you read this book, start by looking at the mind map at the beginning of each chapter. These will give you the essence of what the chapter is about and the text will then deepen your understanding. If you have trouble understanding any content, I recommend you create a mind map yourself. For a step-bystep guide on how to mind map, visit © 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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CONTENTS Introduction: The Wake Up Call


Why We Need Change Chapter 1: Waking Up


Chapter 2: Understanding Global Warming


Chapter 3: The Big Polluters


Chapter 4: Too Close for Comfort: Overpopulation


What to Change Chapter 5: You Have the Power!


Chapter 6: What about the Government?


How to Change Chapter 7: It’s Time for Change


Chapter 8: Goal Setting for a Liveable Planet


Chapter 9: Connecting with Nature


Who Has Changed Chapter 10: It’s OK, You’re Not Alone!

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.


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My parents were worried. For years they had been developing a stone fruit orchard in rural Western

We are not passive spectators, but active

Australia. From this, they earned enough money to

contestants in the drama of our existence. We

pay the bills, feed us and put my brother and I

need to take responsibility for the kind of life we

through school. Both mum and dad knew the land

create for ourselves

well and had developed a strong connection to it. Over the last 12 years they had started to notice - Nathaniel Branden, Ph.D.

changes on the orchard. The orchard dam, which used to overflow regularly by the end of May, stopped filling up in some years, filled up later in

I didn’t care about climate change/global warming up

other years and now doesn’t fill up at all. I would hear

until two years ago. Like many people, I didn’t care

them talk about these changes and how they were

because I simply didn’t know and understand what

caused by climate change/global warming, but I

those terms meant. I was young, caught up in reality

didn’t think much of it at the time. I told my parents

TV shows, the idea of making lots of money, the lives

‘Stop worrying! Look on the brighter side of life’ and

of celebrities and gossip. My life was all about me,

carried on flipping aimlessly through catalogues of

my friends and family. Beyond those things, nothing

discounted clothes and other items I didn’t really

else really mattered to me.


© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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When I finally was forced to learn about climate

Then Al Gore came along with his movie An

change/global warming in an environmental law

Inconvenient Truth. Gore summarised wonderfully all

lecture, I was shocked and felt sick to the stomach. I

the scientific journals I had read over the previous six

couldn’t understand why the media wasn’t constantly

months. Watching this movie gave me new hope,

shoving this issue in our faces. Why weren’t more of

passion and determination to do something. I started

us concerned about it? Why wasn’t the government

reading book after book on how to make a difference

taking the scientists seriously? I had to find out more.

in this area. I soon realised that having the knowledge of how to change the world was one

The more I read, the more worried I became about the state the world was in. My friends started to get annoyed by my ‘doom and gloom’ conversations. I

thing, but actually taking action to bring about that change was another thing altogether (this was the challenging part!).

asked adults who I looked up to ‘What can we do about this?’ Many of them responded with ‘Not a lot’.

Being a Psychology student I was interested in the

So I continued on in a business as usual fashion. In

different strategies that could help people to start

other words, I switched off to global warming. I

adopting environmentally responsible behaviours. I

stopped reading about it. I stopped talking about it. I

researched these thoroughly by reading dozens of

stopped thinking about it.

psychological journals related to behaviour change and soon discovered that most of the strategies were straight forward and easy to apply to my own life.

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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I started attending conferences and free talks held in

Some of what you are about to read may shock you,

my city on global warming and it wasn’t long before I

challenge you, make you feel angry and sad. You

was fed up with the boring tones and academic

may refuse to believe it at first and indeed it may

jargon that was being used by many of the speakers.

seem easier and more convenient to deny it.

I also read a lot about the science of global warming,

Whatever reaction you have is ok. Remember, you

however there wasn’t much on what the average

are human. Just know you have done the best you

person could do to combat the problem. When I did

could have done with the knowledge you’ve had up

read about the things I could do, I was often left

until this point. There is still time (as brief as it may

feeling overwhelmed with the thought ‘It’s all too

be) to change and do things differently.

hard’. It was a struggle for me to find the motivation to try to do something about global warming among all that mass of academic complexities. This is why I decided to write this book so that you don’t have to go through such great struggles. This book is about breaking down the overwhelming topic of global warming into plain, simple English, with the use of mind maps. It also shows you that each of us can make a difference and live deeper, more meaningful lives by doing so. © 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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goods we acquire the happier we will be. We need


instant gratification.

The frog does not drink up the pond in which it lives. - Indian proverb

We live in an industrial growth society that worships growth and material possessions. The shopping

What is to happen to a planet with a

centre has become the modern church, satisfying our

population of 6.5 billion (and

short-term pleasures, keeping many of us numb and

exponentially growing) all pursuing

cut off from the reality of the world. We all want to be

a materialistic lifestyle? What kind

happy and we are told that we can be, but only if we

of impact will this have on nature and all of life? The

buy the G500 mobile phone for the bargain

ice-caps are melting three times faster than scientists

basement price of $39.95 (available for a limited time

have ever predicted before. Entire species, cultures

only)! Let’s face it, we have become a nation of

and ecosystems are dying. Sea levels are rising. The

sleepwalkers, buying goods we don’t need to

environment is experiencing destruction on a scale

impress people we don’t even like! We are obsessed

that confronted no previous generation in recorded

with feeling good all the time and we think the more

history. Leading climate scientists have desperately

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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been telling us that we have less than 10 years to do

How does this make you feel? Angry?

something or else we stand to lose it all if we don’t

Sad? Disgusted? If the answer is yes

take immediate action.

to any of these feelings, you are not alone. Thousands of environmentalists,

Stop for a moment. Look around at the people in your life: your family, friends and the people at your local shopping centre. Look at yourself. Does anyone seem to care? Do you care? Should we even care? The simple answer is yes, we should care. We need to care. It took hundreds of millions of years for the earth to reach a finely tuned balance and in such a short space of time (no more than 200 years) we have taken it upon ourselves to destroy this perfect ecological balance.

scientists, activists and ordinary everyday people feel the same way, concerned and upset over what is happening to our planet. If the answer is no and you don’t feel anything (not even the slightest pang of pain or guilt) then my diagnosis is that you have become a sleepwalker mindlessly acting out the commands society has imprinted on you. At some point in your life (along with most people in our society) you became cynical and resigned. The good news is that now is the perfect time to wake up.

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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When we reach a point where we are more

What has gone wrong? How have

concerned about the latest mobile phone, the lives of

we ended up in such a disturbing

celebrities and gossip, accumulating more and more

place, acting like zombies in the

material wealth and the next holiday overseas than

face of global catastrophe?

with the survival of our entire planet, one cannot help

Authors Ellis Jones, Ross

but think ‘Something’s not right here, something has

Haenfler, Brett Johnson and Brian

gone awfully wrong and needs to change’. Now is

Klocke of The Better World Handbook say cynicism

the time for all of us to really wake up. It’s time for a

is the cause of this problem, that humans are

global awakening.

trapped in a cycle of cynicism. What is meant by the term cynicism? Cynicism is a destructive way of relating to the world. A cynical person will see the world as a place that will always be filled with problems and they are convinced that people look out for themselves first and foremost. Glenn Capelli and Sean Brealy in their book The Thinking Learning Classroom describe cynics as being both closed off and sneering fault finders of new ideas and opportunities.

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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Cynicism is the modern day disease,

5. You feel powerless, sad and angry. You may

spreading rapidly all over the world.

start blaming politicians and corporations for

Some of the symptoms of this disease

not doing anything.

are a lack of passion and excitement,

6. Eventually you reach the stage where you

negativity, very little satisfaction and fulfilment in life.

just accept that there’s nothing you can do

You may contract this disease as follows:

and at that point, you give up and become apathetic.

1. You are watching television, reading the paper or just going about your everyday life and you discover a problem in society (e.g. global warming). 2. You think to yourself ‘Hang on, this isn’t

7. The numbing of your mind and heart begins. 8. You begin avoiding finding out about these problems (i.e. stop watching or reading the news) because it’s only going to make you feel bad or guilty.

right! I can’t believe this is happening. We’ve got to do something’. You start to wonder ‘Can I do anything to help?’. 3. Unfortunately, when no clear avenues for action are presented to you, you begin to think ‘I can’t do anything’. 4. So naturally, you don’t do anything.

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

What your life then becomes about is making lots of money, driving a nice car, moving up in the world and living it up. You focus on doing irrelevant activities that bring you instant pleasure. But the pleasure doesn’t last for long. How many people do you know who live like this? This is how so many of

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us in western culture choose to spend our time on

ecology) some of the reasons why we repress our

the planet and very rarely do we question it.

pain regarding the state of the environment are as follows: Fear of guilt: If we are aware about the problems in the world, then we may feel guilty if we know we are contributing to them or not doing anything about them. It is easier and can feel nicer just to sweep things under the carpet and stick our heads in the sand. Fear of pain: Fundamentally, we are pleasure

Don’t get me wrong. People have valid reasons for

seeking creatures. We are attracted to situations that

devoting their energies to material consumption

we perceive will bring us pleasure and avoid

rather than doing something about global warming.

situations that we perceive will bring us pain. We fear

Shopping can be a fun, social activity whereas

that if we allow ourselves to experience pain fully we

reading about global warming and seeing the impact

may lose control and may not be able to cope

is far from being fun. It’s painful. As humans we don’t

with life.

want to feel pain if we can avoid it. According to Joanna Macy, Ph.D., (Eco-philosopher, scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory and deep © 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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Fear of appearing morbid: I have

Lack of time: Many of us live very busy lives,

listened to a lot of motivational

juggling a family, studying and working full time.

speakers, many of whom speak

Subsequently, when we do have some free time, the

about the power of being positive,

last thing we want to do is read about global warming

seeing the glass as half full (not

and contemplate the fate of the world.

half empty) and that no one likes to hang around people who are depressing. Often I have left these talks thinking ‘I have to happy and vibrant all the time!’ When I read about global warming however, it is incredibly hard for me not to feel sadness and despair. It is really hard for me to feel happy after reading an article on polar bears drowning and facing extinction. In our culture, those who feel anguish and despair are often looked down on. We don’t want to be disliked, so we don’t engage in and express depressing information.

Media: The media has failed us in many ways. Campaigns of misinformation and deception fuelled by the oil and coal industry have confused people on the science of global warming. Many of us think that we are still debating whether global warming exists or not, when in fact that debate finished many years ago! The public is also provided with less information now than 30 years ago due to the strategies of the corporate media owners.

There are also socio-economic sources of repression of pain. These are:

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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Joanna Macy, Ph.D., also

rather not know, but as Winston Churchill once said

mentions that we have

‘sometimes we have to do what is required’.

become like laboratory rats. When lab rats are threatened, they busy themselves in frenzied, irrelevant activities. Humans do exactly the same. Our hearts and minds go numb by repressing our pain and we start buying clothes and shoes made in Chinese sweatshops and we catch planes to exciting, new locations without considering the number of tonnes of greenhouse gases we are emitting in the process. It is important to remember that we are not laboratory rats. We have incredible cognitive capacities, complex emotions and it is crucial that we use them. We need to start thinking for ourselves so we can deal effectively with combating the global

It is also healthy and necessary to experience upset and pain. Repressing certain emotions such as pain leads to an overall dulling of your experience of life. The sweet experiences in life would not be so sweet if we never allowed ourselves to fully experience pain. We are also not stuck in an artificial laboratory separated from the real world. We exist as a part of a bigger system and whether we realise it or not, we have a connection with the natural world, relying on its many hidden services (oxygen to breathe, water to hydrate ourselves, bees to pollinate our food plants, etc).

environmental problems we are now facing. Thinking about issues such as global warming is highly likely to be upsetting as you may realise things you would

Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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This isn’t a trial run. We only have one shot at this. We can either continue on in a business as usual fashion or make a difference through our daily actions and decisions. If we choose the later, we will be able to look our children and grandchildren in the eye and say to them ‘I did everything I could’.

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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BREAKING THE CYCLE People need to experience a dramatic shift in the way they think and feel about the environment,

4. Learn about the practical things you can do to make a difference in the world; and 5. Take the actions you can take.

similar to a religious conversion. We need to undergo a conversion

As you go about taking

from putting money first to the earth first. The cycle

actions to bring about a better

of cynicism needs to be broken. How can we do this?

world, your internal dialogue

The Better World Handbook suggests the following

will be saying all kinds of

practical solutions:

things to you, trying to stop you from making a difference.

1. Stop blaming others (i.e. politicians and corporations) for doing nothing; 2. Start taking personal responsibility for being the best person you can be in the world; 3. Get a basic understanding of the world’s

‘Internal dialogue? What’s that?’ you may ask. It’s the little voice in your head that has a comment or thought about everything you do and see. The thoughts can be positive, neutral or negative (mostly they’re negative). If you still have no idea what I’m going on about, your little voice probably just said ‘What little voice?’ It’s important to understand that what your little voice tells you is just

problems from good, unbiased sources; © 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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one opinion and it isn’t necessarily the truth. It can

‘One person can’t make a difference’

sometimes lead you down wrong paths and trap you in destructive thought patterns and behaviours.

With so much of the beautiful planet destroyed,

Watch out for the following negative thoughts (mental

it’s not surprising that many people all over the

traps) your little voice may say to stop you from

world have lost hope. Primatologist Dr Jane

making a difference in the world:

Goodall said in her speech at Live Earth (a 7continent concert series aimed to inspire global

‘That’s just the way the world is’

action to solve the climate crisis):

If people thought this way in the past then

We have to remember that every one of us

women would have never got the right to vote

makes a difference everyday. We can’t live

and apartheid would still exist in Africa!

through a day without affecting the world around us. If we would all start thinking

‘It’s not my responsibility’

about the consequences of the little choices we make each day (what we buy to eat, to

If you drive a car, catch planes and/or use electricity then that makes you responsible for global warming. All of us need to take

wear and how we get from A-B) and started adjusting our behaviour accordingly the world would start to change.

responsibility for our consumption and polluting activities.

Global warming activist, Laurie David, asks ‘What if you knew that if every household in

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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America replaced five regular light bulbs with

are no longer slaves to time and irrelevant

more energy efficient bulbs, it would be


equivalent to taking 8 million cars off the road for a year?’ Together all of our small actions can

‘I’m not an activist or a saint’

make a huge, collective difference. To make a difference you don’t need to have •

‘I don’t have the time or energy to make a

dreadlocks, chain yourself to a tree or be like


Mother Teresa. You can be yourself. You can map out your own path to making the world a

If I asked you ‘What do you value the most in

better place.

your life?’ what would you respond with? Perhaps you might say spending time with family and friends or your health and fitness. If we now

‘No one else is doing anything about global warming, so why should I?’

take a good look at our daily schedules, a lot of our time isn’t dedicated towards the things we value the most but instead on activities that add very little value or meaning to our lives (e.g. watching television and shopping for items we ‘think’ we need and can’t live without). We can reschedule our days to free ourselves up, so we

You would be absolutely amazed by all the people who are now doing what they can to make a difference in this area. Installing photovoltaic panels on their roofs, catching public transport, buying green power, writing to politicians and pledging not to fly are just a few of the many things people are doing. Thousands of

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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people behaving in ways to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions results in thousands, even millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases not being released into our fragile, thin atmosphere. You may be thinking ‘But I like flying!’ or ‘I love shopping!’. You may love the consumer way of life and that’s ok. I’m not telling you to sell everything and start living like the Amish or a Buddhist monk. But do you really know any other way to live? We have all been conditioned into thinking that the consumer way is the only way and the best way to live, when there are many other ways. We have a choice and we should choose not to be laboratory rats. Let’s wake up from our deep slumber and free ourselves from the cages society has locked us in.

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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is absorbed by the earth’s surface (landmass and


water) and warms it, whilst the rest is reflected by the earth back into space. Polar ice reflects 90% of solar radiation back into space, whereas water absorbs

We have a brief window of opportunity to

90% of the energy it receives. In addition, the warm

deal with climate change…no longer than a

surface of the earth emits long wavelength radiation

decade at the most

(infrared) and this is absorbed by the greenhouse gases (a natural as well as manmade part of the

- Scientist at NASA, Dr James Hansen

earth’s atmosphere which have the ability to trap and retain heat) in the atmosphere and re-emitted back to the earth.

To fully understand what is meant

Before the industrial revolution in

by global warming and climate


the 18 century, the earth had

change the greenhouse effect

achieved a fine balance between

must first be understood. The greenhouse effect is the process where solar radiation (short wavelength radiation) from the sun reaches the earth’s surface where it’s converted to heat energy (long wavelength radiation). The majority of sunlight © 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

the energy coming in and the energy transmitted back into outer space. This balance has kept the temperature at an average of 14 degrees Celsius for the past 10,000 years and is responsible for sustaining life on Earth as we know it today. Page 23

With the onset of the industrial

Findings reveal that the main greenhouse gas, CO2,

revolution, humans started to

has been rising faster than at any other time over the

burn increased amounts of

past 20,000 years. CO2 has increased from 280 parts

fossil fuels such as oil, coal and

per million (ppm) in 1750 to the present day level of

natural gas to generate heat for transportation,

380 ppm (most of which has occurred in the last 50

electricity and other energy requirements. This was

years). 380 ppm is higher than any other time in the

and still is problematic since a waste product of fossil

past 650,000 years. Concentrations of the second

fuel combustion is carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 lasts

most abundant greenhouse gas, methane (CH4),

for decades to centuries in the atmosphere.

have also increased since the pre-industrial era by

Increasingly large amounts of greenhouse gases

150%. Consequently, these increased

were and still are being pumped into the atmosphere.

concentrations have trapped more heat, thereby

New, exceedingly powerful greenhouses gases such

creating an enhanced greenhouse effect, which has

as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were also introduced.

caused the earth’s surface temperature to rise.

All of these factors have

Due to scientists growing concerns about global

resulted in increased

warming and climate change, the Intergovernmental

atmospheric concentrations of

Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was created in

greenhouse gases. Scientists

1988 by the United Nations Environmental Program

studying tree rings, corals and ice-cores have been

(UNEP) and World Meteorological Organization

able to precisely calculate the exact percentage of

(WMO). The role of the IPCC is to write two reports

greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over time.

every decade on the issue of climate change and it

Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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does so in a rigorous, peer-reviewed fashion (this means the information is reviewed and approved thoroughly by other experts in the author’s field before being published). Any controversial research such as the melting of Greenland’s ice sheet has been excluded from the reports, which leaves little room for skeptics. Approximately 2,500 scientists appointed by 130 countries participated in compiling the latest IPCC report that concluded the world is warming fast and humans are the cause of this.

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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IMPACTS ON THE EARTH Often when people

of the lush and comfortable Earth we now enjoy is

think of catastrophe what

about to become a hot and barren desert’.

automatically jumps to mind are events that occur in an instant such as earthquakes, tsunamis and landslides. Many people fail to consider categorising global warming as a catastrophe, since the consequences of it take many years to manifest. When the full impact of what has already happened and what is predicted to happen to the earth is properly considered, the reality hits home that global warming will be the mother of all cataclysmic events in history. James Lovelock (creator of the Gaia theory) states ‘The catastrophe threatened by global heating is far worse than any war, famine, or plague in living memory; worse even than global nuclear war. Much

Leading scientist at NASA, Dr James Hansen, states the world has warmed by approximately 0.8 degrees over the past century, which is much larger than any of the climate changes experienced during the past 10,000 years. This may seem like a small increase in temperature given the huge variations in temperature we experience daily, but the effect of this overall global warming has been devastating: heat waves, deep oceans warming, the Arctic ice cap melting (three times faster than it had been predicted), sea levels rising (twice as rapidly as had been predicted), species extinctions (three species disappear every hour), increased

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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earthquakes and stronger and longer storm and flood

prices. Tokyo (the capital of Japan) had never gone

events have occurred (just to name a few changes).

so late without snow in the winter season according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. This is just a

One only needs to take a look at the weather conditions around the globe over the past few years

snapshot of what is going on around the world (Visit

for an extensive list).

to see that the world’s climate is changing rapidly and becoming more extreme. According to Munich

The Facts

Re (an insurance company) extreme weather events have quintupled since 1950. Of the 12 warmest

The IPCC states that the

years on record, 11 occurred between 1995 and

global temperature will rise by

2006. 2005 was the hottest year in over a century.

1.1°C to 6.4°C over the next

Along with these hot temperatures, Australia has

100 years (Some scientists

consequently experienced some if its driest months

such as Nobel Laureate, Paul Crutzen, are now

and severest drought. In 2007, Northern England

saying that these figures are too low and could rise

experienced a whole months worth of rain in just a

anywhere between 7°C and 10°C). Scientists predict

few hours in many places, Southwest Pakistan was

that with a one degree increase in temperature

hit by monsoon floods affecting 800,000 and

Mount Kilimanjaro will lose all its ice, rare species will

Indonesia experienced intense storms which left

be wiped out in the Queensland (Australia), coral

more than 340,000 homeless. Ukraine experienced

reefs such as the Great Barrier Reef will be largely

their worst drought in a century, which cut crop yields

destroyed and Island nations will submerge under

by 60% and resulted in a rapid increase in food

the rising sea levels.

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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Feeling a little bored or sleepy by reading this?

A three degree increase will

You’re not alone. This information is heavy and can

result in Perth (my home

be hard to take in. Hang in there.

town), Sydney and other parts of Australia

With a two degree increase Greenland will tip into irreversible melt (accelerating sea-level rise and threatening coastal cities around the world), polar bears and other species that require a stable ice

experiencing water shortages, the world will experience a net food deficit, the Amazonian ecosystem will collapse and glacial retreat in the Himalayas means the Indus River will run dry and millions of environmental refugees will flee Pakistan.

platform for survival will become extinct in the Arctic and shrinking snowfields will threaten Californian

Feeling depressed? If the answer is yes then you’ve

water supplies. George Monbiot (columnist for the

probably read enough to get an idea of how serious

Guardian and Visiting Professor at the School of the

the impact of just a one or two degree increase in

Built Environment at Oxford Brookes University) in

global temperature will be. If you realise that we

his book Heat: How to stop the planet burning states

need to do whatever we can to not go beyond two

‘Two degrees is the point beyond which certain major

degrees in global temperature, you can skip to the

ecosystems begin collapsing. Having, until then,

next chapter. For those of you who need further

absorbed carbon dioxide, they begin to release it.

convincing (or if you have a strong stomach) you can

Beyond this point….climate change is out of our

read on to find out what is predicted to happen with a

hands: it will accelerate without our help’. © 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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four, five and six degree increase in global

Territory. By this stage most of the world will be


uninhabitable. A four degree increase in

Finally, a six degree increase

temperature will lead to a

will lead to the mass extinction

third of Bangladesh being

of species (90 – 100% loss of

threatened by rising seas and

core habitat for most Australian

millions will become climate

vertebrates). 251 million years ago (the end-Permian

refugees, all glaciers will disappear in the Alps,

mass extinction) there was a temperature increase

further reducing water supplies in central Europe.

between 6°C – 8°C degrees. This led to coral reefs

Permafrost melt in Siberia will release billions of

dying and 90% of the earth’s species being wiped

tonnes of greenhouse gases thereby exacerbating

out. This warming may have been due to a series of

global warming.

volcanic eruptions releasing CO2 and SO2. George Monbiot states this period gives us an indication of A five degree increase means the earth will become hotter than any other time in 55

the possible impact this rise in temperature could cause. If six degrees of warming does occur then it is likely human beings will become extinct too.

million years and methane hydrate will be released from underneath oceans resulting in tsunamis in coastal regions. In total 180 days of the year will be above 35°C in South Australia and the Northern © 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 30

For some short sighted people none of the above environmental impacts really matter. It’s all about the economy. According to the Stern review (a 700 page report on the economics of climate change compiled by British Economist Sir Nicholas Stern) climate change will affect the global economy and could end up costing $7 trillion. The main conclusion of this report was that if we act now to dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst effects of climate change then 1% of global GDP (measure of economic activity) per annum is required to be invested. Failure to act could result in global GDP being 20% lower than it otherwise might be. Clearly the benefits of strong and early action far outweigh the economic costs of not taking action. The science is in and it is painfully clear, global warming is real and it is happening faster than ever predicted. We have a moment to take action. To avoid some of the worst impacts we need to act now to dramatically cut our greenhouse gas emissions. Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 31

Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 32


renewable energy sources. Ultimately, the fossil fuel


industry (the richest industry in the world) would need to come to an end to achieve the reduction that is required.

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon

Not wanting to suffer financially, these industries

his not understanding it.

have deliberately misled the public, policy makers and the media through campaigns of deception and - Upton Sinclair

misinformation. Oil and coal companies have poured millions of dollars into promoting the message

Many people and institutions are still in denial over the existence of global warming. This is due to global warming being a complex problem, which is clouded by deep political and

‘climate change/global warming is uncertain’ through the use of groups such as the Global Climate Coalition, the Greening Earth Society, the American Petroleum Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the World Coal Institute.

industrial implications. Scientists have concluded that

The ICE campaign is an

the only way to effectively address global warming is

example of how far coal and

to dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas

utility companies (National Coal

emissions by 90%. This would mean humans would

Association, Western Fuel

need to stop using fossil fuels and switch to © 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Association and Edison Electrical Institute) are Page 33

prepared to go to salvage their profits. A public

images of children and glaciers melting and then

relations firm created the $500,000 ICE campaign

reforming (played in reverse), make statements such

one year before the 1992 United Nations Earth

as ‘Carbon dioxide: they call it pollution, we call it life’

Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The campaign’s goal was

and ‘…some politicians want to label carbon dioxide

to ‘reposition global warming as theory rather than

a pollutant. Imagine if they succeed – what would our

fact’ through utilising climate change skeptic

lives be like then?’ (Fortunately, in April 2007 the

scientists in broadcast appearances, interviews and

U.S. Supreme Court ruled that CO2 and other heat

newspaper advertisements. The campaign’s

trapping emissions are air pollutants under the Clean

newspaper advertisements made statements such

Air Act). Earlier this year, scientists and economists

as ‘Some say the earth is warming. Some also said

were also offered $10,000 by a lobby group (The

the earth was flat’. Fortunately, the ICE campaign

American Enterprise Institute) funded by ExxonMobil

collapsed after it was exposed by various

to emphasize the shortcomings of the latest IPCC

publications (i.e. The New York Times and the

report just after it was released.

Energy Daily). Climate change skeptics such Even to this day, an abundance of climate change th

as Robert Balling (Professor of

propaganda still exists. On the 18 of May 2006, the

Geography at Arizona State

Competitive Enterprise Institute launched a series of

University), Richard Lindzen

television advertisements in various U.S. cities in

(Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts

response to major media threats of worldwide

Institute of Technology), Patrick Michaels (Professor

climate change. The new commercials, featuring

of Environmental Science at the University of

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 34

Virginia) and S. Fred Singer (Electrical Engineer and

testimonies given by scientists. From 1995 until the

Physicist) hold views that are in the minority of the

negotiations of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 (An

scientific community. Many of these global warming

International agreement aimed at reducing countries

skeptics do not have backgrounds in climatology, fail

CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions) things however

to source where they get their information from and

changed dramatically. The number of testimonies

hold extreme views regarding other areas of science.

presented by skeptics and conventional scientists

For example, S. Fred Singer is well known for being

was approximately equal every year, thereby

skeptical about the connection between CFCs and

clouding the issue in politicians’ minds. For people

ozone depletion as well as second hand smoke and

who had no background information on the science


of global warming, it would have appeared to them that the scientific community was split 50-50 on the

These skeptical views have been portrayed in Congressional hearings in a way that has created a

issue, when in reality the situation was more like a 99-1 split.

false portrayal of the climate change issue. A study by McCright and Dunlap examined the number of

Similarly, the media has been

testimonies delivered by conventional scientists

responsible for clouding the issue

(holding a mainstream view on climate change) and

of climate change for the general

climate change skeptics in congressional hearings

public by reporting the most extreme views of climate

from 1990 to 1997. Until 1994 the conventional

change (those held by climate skeptics), regardless

scientists were outspoken on the issue, with the

of the fact that the majority of scientists hold views

climate change skeptics presenting only 25% of all

towards a consensus position. This has resulted in

Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 35

public confusion over the science and state of

same way, if you need some surgery, you don’t call a

climate change, which has led to policy gridlock,

pathologist, virologist or an immunologist, you call a

personal and political inaction.

surgeon. In the same way the only people qualified to give you opinions on climate change are

In summary, be careful what you read or who you choose to listen to on the science of global warming.

climatologists and they are of the opinion that climate change is real and that we caused it.

Always ask yourself the following questions: •

Who is funding or sponsoring this scientist? Is it the fossil fuel industry?

The climate debate has been dominated by a bunch of clowns instead of climatologists for far too long.

Is this person a climatologist (scientist

The clowns are still out there, but it is up to us to

specialising in the Earth’s climate)?

recognise them and decide if what they are saying is worth our time and energy. Who would you rather

Has their work been peer-reviewed?

learn from? A clown or climatologist? The choice is yours.

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki states: You don’t get a plumber to build a fence for you, and you don’t get a chef to do some plumbing. In the

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 37



see oceans of new, compact suburbs springing up all around us. Let’s take a look at the facts. For the majority of the two million years of human history, the population

In the last 200 years the population of our

was less than a quarter of a million. It took thousands

planet has grown exponentially, at a rate of

of years (until 1800) for the population to reach the

1.9% per year. If continued at this rate, with the

first billion. In 1930 the population reached 2 billion, 3

population doubling every 40 years, by 2600

billion in 1960, 4 billion in 1974, 5 billion in 1987 and

we would all be standing literally shoulder to

6 billion in 1999. According to the United Nations


projections, the population is predicted to reach an astronomical 9.1 billion by 2050. What’s going on? -- Professor Stephen Hawking

Why is our population growing so out of control? The simple answer is exponential growth. Sounds

Global warming is a by product of a bigger, more

complex? Well, it isn’t.

serious issue: overpopulation. One doesn’t need statistical proof to see that the world is getting crowded. We can see it clearly in our day to day lives as we struggle to find a parking spot at the shopping centre, wait months for a doctors appointment and

In a nutshell, exponential growth is based on the idea that the larger a number gets, the faster it grows. This principle can be explained by looking at a child receiving his or her

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 38

pocket money. The child is given two choices for

Imagine that you are reading the paper and the front

increasing their weekly pocket money. The first

page states ‘Population increases by 1.8% every

choice is to start with $1 worth of pocket money and

year’. Would you be alarmed? Probably not. Many of

have this doubled every week. The second option is

us would think ‘1.8%? That’s nothing!’ and we would

to start on $5 and have this increase by $1 every

flip straight through to the sports or comic section.


Don’t be fooled though. According to Dr Albert A. Bartlett (Professor of Physics at the University of

Week Option 1 Option 2










Colorado) this is an alarming figure. If the population










was to continue increasing by this amount ever year










then it would only take 780 years for the world population to grow to a density where there would be one person per square metre on the dry lands

Option 2 may give you more in


the short term, however as you can see in the table above

Stop for a moment. Put this

Option 1 eventually will grow

book down and try to picture

much larger. We may not realise it but what is

living in a world like that. Quite

happening with the simple example of the child’s

uncomfortable? Distressing? It

pocket money in Option 1 is what is happening with

would be like living in a crowded lift that you cannot

the Earth’s human population (but on a much larger

escape from. How do people react when they are in


confined spaces? Some people remain calm and

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 39

cool headed, whilst others freak out and reason and

Hurting the world

common sense go out the door. They do irrational things that not only harm themselves but the people

Having more people results in a

around them. With a population growing

tragedy of the commons

exponentially this is what is likely to happen to our

situation. To explain this


concept, let’s take a quick look at the overfishing of the fishery. Professor Bartlett also states

A fisherman thinks ‘If I don’t take these fish then

it would only take 2,400

someone else will, so I better take as much as I

years for the mass of the

can!’, but what then happens is that everyone has

people to equal the mass of

this mentality and starts taking as much fish as they

the earth (with a 1.8% growth rate in population)!

possibly can! You end up with a dead, empty ocean

Eventually we would reach a point where people

with no fish at all. Perhaps Professor Elinor Ostrom’s

could not go on living with such limited space.

quote below from Governing the Commons says it

Something needs to change and if we don’t try to


change, mother earth will do it for us. Wealth that is free for all is valued by no one because he who is foolhardy enough to wait for its proper time of use will only find that it has been taken by another…the fish in the sea are valueless to the fisherman, because there is no assurance that they © 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 40

will be there for him tomorrow if they are left behind today. The tragedy of the commons situation that is occurring in the fishery is taking place all over the world with other natural resources (i.e. water, forests, exotic species and oil). Global warming, deforestation, pollution of air, soil and water are the result of overexploiting the Earth’s resources to meet the demands of a growing population. More people on the planet means there is less water, food, energy and space to go around. There will be even less finite natural resources to go around in the western world now that developing countries like China are following in our larger carbon and ecological footprints (China recently overtook the U.S. as the world’s biggest CO2 emitter).

Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 41

Ways to Increase the Population

Ways to Decrease the Population

Why did the population grow

The table below shows some of the bad and good

so quickly? Improvements in

ways to reduce population.

medicine, sanitation and agriculture technology have

Bad ways

Good ways



decreased diseases, produced more food and allowed many people to live for longer periods of time. For example, the U.S life expectancy


Small Families

in 1900 was 47 years and by the end of the century it was 77 years. Similarly, the average life expectancy



in China was 35 years in 1950 and by the year 2000 it had risen to approximately 71 years.

Accidents Murder Abortion Genocide

Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 42

Each of us has a choice. Some choices have less painful consequences than others. If we don’t choose to do something about controlling the exponential growth of the population, nature will make the choice for us and we can expect to experience more suffering (as shown in the left hand column of the table above).

Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 44

Providing people with access to


family planning services can Aldous Huxley once said ‘Facts do not cease to exist

also reduce the population. 201

because they are ignored’. Let’s face it, the issue of

million couples currently don’t

overpopulation won’t go away by ignoring it, or

have access to the services they need to reduce the

crossing our fingers and hoping for the best. It needs

size of their families. The United Nations predicted

to be tackled immediately. How can this be done?

that if they did have access to the required family planning services then 52 million unwanted

Education appears to be the answer. Dr Albert A. Bartlett

pregnancies, 22 million induced abortions and 1.4 million infant deaths could have been avoided.

says people must first be educated to realise that our

Could technological advancements save us?

current rate of population growth and consumption of resources is not

After all, some technology optimists have talked

sustainable. Educating girls also seems to have

about colonising the moon and other planets to

promising results and appears to lead to smaller

create more space for us

families. Economist, Gene Sperling, stated in a study

here on Earth! Unfortunately,

of 72 countries ‘The expansion of female secondary

this technology isn’t available

education may be the single best lever for achieving

to us right now and we have

substantial reductions in fertility’.

run out of time. We need to carefully examine the allegations made by

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 45

technology optimists who assure us that science and

Reducing the population to ensure a sustainable

technology will always be able to solve all of our

planet can however be successfully and humanely


achieved. Iran is living proof of this. Lester R. Brown in his book Plan B 2.0 discusses how Iran

Population Success Story

dramatically dropped its population growth rate from being one of the world’s fastest to one of the lowest

I have worked at several religious schools that speak of children being a ‘gift from god’. Subsequently, the average family will comprise of five or more children at these schools. Religion aside, if you talk to your average person about the one child policy in China they will express outrage. ‘How dare they take away the human right to give birth! That is just inhumane’ they may say. The Australian government even provides a $4,000 incentive for women to give birth!

in the developing world. In 1967 the Shah had put in place family planning programs but when Ayatollah Khomeini assumed power in 1979 these programs were quickly dismantled. Khomeini began advocating for larger families to increase soldiers for Islam (with the goal of having 20 million). The result was Iran’s population growth rate reached its peak in the 1980’s and this started to have a negative impact on the environment, economy and unemployment.

One can start to see how emotionally charged and difficult tackling the population issue can be. Trying

Leaders also started to wake up

to decrease the population is a huge challenge that

to these problems and the

can seem impossible at times.

overcrowding in Iran. In 1989 the government restored the family planning program, in 1993 a national family planning

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 46

law was passed and Iran broadcasting was made

Countries everywhere have little choice but to aim for

responsible for raising awareness of population

an average of two children per couple. The earth

issues as well as the availability of family planning

simply cannot support any more than this. If we are

services. Religious leaders also got involved in

serious about doing something about climate

promoting smaller families. Contraceptives were

change, we need to tackle the big issue of

made free of charge. Couples were required to take

exponential population growth. If we choose to

a class on modern contraception before receiving a

ignore it, our actions will be equivalent to crossing

marriage licence. Iran also started an effort to

our fingers and hoping for the best (business as

educate women. Female literacy rose from 25% in


1970 to more than 70% in 2000. The result of all of this was a typical Iran family dropped its size from 7 children to less than 3. Between 1987 and 1994 Iran cut its population growth rate by half. The important thing to note here is that if a country based on a tradition of Islamic fundamentalism can do this, then any other country can do it too.

Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 47

Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 48


Besides, if we don't rise to the challenge, climate


change will force our hand anyway (most likely in ways we won't like). The Stern report says that the cost of global warming could reach up to 20% of world GDP if we don’t act. The time for action has

It is time for us to stand and cheer for the doer,

come. It doesn't mean we have to experience sharp

the achiever, the one who recognizes the

cuts in living standards but it does mean that we

challenge and does something about it

have to live smarter and grow in a different way. More of the same is definitely not better.

- Vince Lombardi We can start by informing ourselves. Watch Al Gore's movie Global warming seems like such a huge problem that

An Inconvenient Truth. Some

it’s easy to feel helpless, but in fact there are many

people aren’t open to watching

things we can do on a personal level to help. A lot of

this movie because they feel there is a political

them don't cost much and many will end up saving

agenda behind the film. Climate scientists have

you money. Perhaps most importantly, we need to

however stated that Al Gore has presented the

change our attitudes and behaviours and that’s not

science of climate change exceptionally well.

as hard as you think.

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 49

Whenever you turn on a light, use

things off at the power point when not in use (10% of

the microwave or drive a car you

Australian household electricity is used by standby

are releasing greenhouse gases

power), using a good old-fashioned clothes line

into the Earth’s atmosphere. This

rather than a drier and installing insulation, all cut

is because most of the energy required to power

energy use. Please note that compact fluorescent

these objects comes from the burning of fossil fuels.

light bulbs (the energy efficient ones) contain a small

By using more energy efficient appliances you can

amount of mercury (approximately 5 mg), and

use less energy to do the same things, save money

therefore need to be disposed of properly. ‘Are they

and reduce your greenhouse gas emissions at the

dangerous to use?’ you may be thinking. When you

same time. Many measures need none or little up-

consider that coal fired power plants release 40% of

front money (e.g. installing energy efficient light

the mercury emissions in the U.S., we are better off

bulbs), but others need more (e.g. replacing an

installing energy efficient light bulbs.

electric water heater with a solar water heater). There will be a payback time before the savings overtake the initial cost (just as in any other investment).

One of the most energy-hungry appliances in the home is the fridge. In Melbourne (Australia), the ‘Phoenix Fridge’ project

An energy audit (evaluation of energy consumption)

( retrofits old fridges to make

on your home or workplace will help to prioritise the

them more energy-efficient. The savings are two-

best ways in which you can save energy. Using

fold. The house saves on energy and greenhouse

energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances, turning

gases, but the factories also don't need to use

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 50

energy to manufacture a whole new fridge. There is

By the laws of thermodynamics,

also no need to use energy disposing of the old one.

all fossil fuel based electrical

You can find out the energy consumption of many

generating systems have a

electrical appliances online ( for

limited efficiency (often only around 35%) and

Australians and for Americans).

inevitably make waste-heat as well. Usually even more energy must be wasted to remove this heat

Installing enough grid-connected solar photo-voltaic (PV) panels could make your house mostly energy self-sufficient and will greatly reduce your households greenhouse gas emissions. In the latest Australian federal budget the solar PV rebate has been doubled to AUD$8 per watt (up to a maximum of AUD$8000) and schools and community groups can now apply for a grant of up to

with a cooling system. Combined heat and power (CHP) systems (also called co-generation) utilise the heat instead, thus improving efficiency and saving energy. This is impractical with electricity provided from huge remote power stations. CHP systems can be used on an industrial, commercial or household scale. If more electricity is produced than needed, it can be sold back to the grid, cutting the pay-back time.

50% of the cost of a solar power system. There are also many new technologies on the horizon. An

One of the most cost-effective

example is 'sliver cell' technology that promises to

ways to reduce household

reduce the cost of solar PV systems.

energy is to install a solar hot water heater. These save so much energy that they often pay for themselves in less than two years.

Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 51

If you are building a new home, or renovating an old

( in Australia and for people in

one, incorporate passive solar design. Tips can be

the U.S.A:.

found at:

A phone call may be all it takes to switch to some form of ‘green power’. These are schemes set up by electricity suppliers whereby they guarantee that the energy you use will be sourced from a renewable energy generator which is less polluting. If 100% of electricity users choose green power, then the supplier must source 100% of its electricity from renewable energy generators. For a typical Australian house using about 6,700 Kilowatt-hours per year, the extra cost of green

Homes aren’t the only greenhouse gas producers. Every litre of petrol you use driving your car releases 2 Kg of greenhouse gas into the Earth’s atmosphere. By keeping your car tyres well pumped up, you will improve fuel consumption and save money at the same time. If possible, make your next car a hybrid or an electric vehicle (EV). Currently the only models available in Australia are expensive, but expect this to change in the next few years. Don't think that EVs are all turtles either. The Tesla Roadster EV ( in the U.S. can drag off a Ferrari.

power is no more than about AUD$5.50 per week.

Some service stations have begun to offer fuel

That’s a muffin and a cup of coffee! You can easily

blends with some fraction of biofuel in the mix. There

find utilities offering green power in each state

is much debate however over whether biofuels are

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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really greenhouse friendly, or even ethical, as

passenger and a return flight from Perth to South

carbon-storing rainforests may be trashed and food

America emits 10.2 tonnes of CO2 per passenger.

crops replaced to grow biofuel crops instead

That’s a lot of CO2 when you consider that the


average Australian household emits approximately 14 tonnes of CO2 a year! The bottom line is avoid

Car pooling is a good way to reduce your car use and make friends at the same time. Better yet, leave your car at home and walk, cycle or use public transport. They all save on energy use and provide exercise. My friend even passed a university unit solely by reading and doing his assignments on the

plane travel wherever possible. If you really have to, some airlines are currently offering a carbon offset scheme. Carbon offsets let you purchase activities (i.e. planting trees) that actively reduce global CO2 emissions. Subsequently, this balances out your personal emissions.

bus! Buying fresh local food It is important to realise that air travel has a huge effect on the atmosphere and natural environment. Aviation emissions have 2-4 times more global warming effect than CO2 from the same amount of fuel used by a road vehicle. A return flight from my city Perth (Western Australia) to Sydney emits approximately 2.4 tonnes of CO2 per Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

(perhaps directly from farmers markets) can cut the amount of fossil fuel used in transport and refrigeration. But where can I find a farmers market? There are sites that are designed to help you locate them ( in the U.S., in Australia and in the U.K.). Better still, you could even start to grow your own Page 53

The table below shows the amount of carbon dioxide

fruit and vegetables.

(Kg) that is emitted per kilogram of food. A surprising fact is that by simply eating less red meat, we can each save a lot of

Type of Food (1 Kg)

CO2 Emitted (Kg)

Fresh local fruit and vegetables


Dried fruit and nuts




Beef and Cheeses


greenhouse gases. Going completely vegan can save more greenhouse gases than using a hybrid electric car. The reason is that livestock belch out methane and nitrous oxide (both potent greenhouse gases). Large quantities of energy are also required for food processing and to grow feed crops.

What impact does a cheeseburger have on the planet? Jamais Cascio (co-founder of

calculated that every time you

buy a cheeseburger from a fast food outlet you are emitting anywhere between 3.6 Kg and 6.1 Kg of

Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 54

CO2. This is due to all the processes that were

use a cloth bag for shopping instead of the plastic

involved to get the burger in front of you (clearing the

throw away bags and if you don’t need it in the first

land for the cattle, growing the feed for the cattle,

place, don’t buy it.

storing and transporting the components as well as Forests store huge amounts of

cooking and packaging). In America, the greenhouse

carbon (a tree can store up to a

gas emissions arising every year from the production

tonne of carbon dioxide over its

and consumption of cheeseburgers is roughly the

lifetime), but the world's rainforests

amount emitted by 13 million SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicle). Cascio’s calculations show us that every action we take (even the smallest ones) can have unexpectedly profound consequences.

and old growth forests are being trashed at an alarming rate. Deforestation accounts for 20% of global carbon emissions (this is substantially due to fires lit in forests to clear land). According to the

Everything we use takes energy to

World Bank, forested areas equivalent to the size of

make, so reduce, re-use, and recycle

Portugal are being cleared each year. This must be

as much as possible. Recycling many

stopped. You can help by using recycled paper (each

metals and plastics uses less energy

tonne purchased saves 4,400 kWh of energy, 30,000

than to make from raw materials.

litres of water and 19 trees) and buying timber only

Every year 500 billion plastic bags are distributed.

from accredited sources. You can also help nature

Most of this plastic can take up to 1000 years to

suck back some of the carbon released by planting

breakdown and just ends up in landfills that emit


harmful greenhouse gases. The solution is simple, © 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 55

If some activity (i.e. driving a car or heating a home)

This is particularly important in countries like

does release carbon, then maybe it’s possible to pay

Australia, Canada and the U.S. as we generate more

someone elsewhere to save or soak up the

greenhouse gases per person than anywhere else.

equivalent amount, making the activity carbon

Promoting access to education, job opportunities and

neutral. This is the idea behind carbon credits. Care

family planning (especially for females) can reduce

must however be taken that the credits purchased

birthrates worldwide. You can help people around

really do lead to a reduction in emissions. Make sure

the world to develop sustainably without leaving your

the carbon credits are certified by a reliable authority.

home by volunteering at This website

Gold standard accreditation (

links you directly with people around the world who

is an internationally recognised benchmark for

need assistance (local people tell you what they

carbon credit schemes. There are other greenhouse

need and you give them help from behind your

gases and they should be included in the accounting.

computer). According to World Bank estimates,

Buying credits should also not be seen as an excuse

around US$84 billion per year (0.2% of world GDP)

to avoid concrete actions that will reduce your energy

is needed to tackle malnutrition and give a primary


school education to every child on earth. In comparison, the Iraq war has cost approximately Ultimately, the more people there are, the more greenhouse gases will be added to the atmosphere. As mentioned previously, we need

US$456 billion, or over US$100 billion per year. The current world military budget is around $US1 trillion per year. Imagine what would be possible if even one tenth of this money was redirected to educate young

to limit the number of children we have to two or less. Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 56

people, produce contraceptives and create family

letters with one or two points each is more effective

planning programs.

than one long, complicated letter. You can also call up and ask to speak with your local political Spread the word and start talking to your friends, neighbours, workmates and anyone else you know about climate change. Sustainability consultant Ben Rose says:

Avoid people who are negative, cynical or apathetic as they will waste your energy. Always work with

representative. If you are nervous about doing this, call their office after hours and leave a short voice message on their answering machine that expresses your concerns about global warming. Speak out and be a catalyst. It will make a difference. Why else should you consider making the changes discussed above? In the words of Ben Rose,

proactive, positive people; they in turn will influence their proactive friends and social contacts. I always

This change of lifestyle is healthier, less stressful,

try to work with and surround myself with proactive,

more joyous and more dignified. It’s also more free of

positive people. It spreads like ripples on a pond.

the influences of advertising, fashion, meaningless competition and having to earn more money to get

Contact your politicians, planners and media outlets.

more things.

Our leaders need to know what we want and that we care. Make them feel the heat! Writing many short Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 57

In addition, how can we keep our dignity if we know

One thing is certain, if we act now

our lifestyle is contributing to destroying our beautiful

to put the brakes on climate

world? It would be really hard for me to look my

change, we can look forward to the

future children and grandchildren in the eye and

future with excitement rather than

admit to them that I knew all my overseas trips and

fear. Don’t ever let anyone tell you

large cars were destroying the fragile atmosphere

that you can’t make a difference. All of us can make

and planet. That I knew I was robbing them of their

a huge difference if we are willing to change our

quality of life but I continued to do it anyway because

consumption habits and tell others about global

it felt great and I wouldn’t be around to face any of

warming/climate change.

the major consequences. My family and I have changed our lives. We now live better and are happier with less. This year mum, dad and I pledged not to travel by air (therefore now take more holidays within our beautiful state of Western Australia), we catch public transport (this means I get to enjoy reading more often), we work less hours because our lives are now about more than just acquiring material possessions. © 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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action makes a difference, the climate crisis has


reached a point where it demands much more than tokenistic actions. If we are to reach the 90% cuts in our emissions that are required (and what science demands), the government needs to create laws and

You can’t hit a target you cannot

regulations that force all of us to change the way we

see, And you cannot see a target

live and the way we do business.

you do not have. Vested interests within the - Zig Ziglar

fossil fuel industry and industries that can’t survive without fossil fuels as well as

George Monbiot in his

short-term political vision

book Heat asks ‘What is

have limited and constrained political action

the point of cycling into

regarding climate change. The White House is a

town when the rest of the world is thundering past in

clear example of this, where the U.S. President

monster trucks?’ and ‘Why bother installing an

George W. Bush has links to running a number of oil

energy-efficient light bulb when a man in Lanarkshire

companies including Arbusto Energy, Spectrum 7

boasts of attaching 1.2 million Christmas lights to his

and Harken Energy Corporation. Secretary of State,

house?’ Whilst I am a firm believer that every little

Condoleezza Rice, sat on the board of directors of Chevron (a corporation engaged in every aspect of

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 60

the oil and gas industry) and the Chief of Staff from

2005. Kyoto aims to reduce CO2

1993-1998, Andrew Card, was the former president

and other greenhouse gases by

of the American Automobile Manufacturers

5.2% below the 1990

Association (just to name a few vested interests).

greenhouse gas levels between 2008 and 2012 (Developing countries are however

George W. Bush has placed representatives of polluting industries or environmental skeptics in charge of nearly all the agencies responsible for protecting America from pollution. For example, Mark Rey (a timber-industry lobbyist) was appointed to oversee the U.S. Forest Service and Elizabeth

exempt from this). Of all the countries that have ratified Kyoto (over 160) only 35 are legally required to stick to their specified targets. Australia and the U.S. are the only two major countries that have refused to be bound by Kyoto’s restrictions. They refuse to ratify Kyoto for the following reasons:

Stolpe (a former lobbyist for one of America’s worst polluting industries) is an associate director on Environmental Quality. It is therefore of no surprise why the American Federal government has failed to take serious action in this area.

1. It would have a negative impact on the economy; 2. The Kyoto Protocol is inequitable as it does not require developing countries such as China and India to fully participate; and

The Kyoto Protocol (an international agreement that created binding targets on developed countries to

3. The emission targets are arbitrary and not based on science.

reduce their greenhouse gas emissions) was created and negotiated in 1997 and entered into force in Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 61

It is true that the emission reduction target of 5.2% is

engagement in the political process is more

not based on science. Science is demanding 90%

important than ever before.

cuts in emissions! So, where are we headed if our government can’t even commit to a 5.2% reduction? What kind of message does this inaction send to countries like India and China?

Fortunately, several states and grassroots action groups have been proactive and are doing what they can to combat climate change. Many U.S. states have set their own targets to reduce their

It is no wonder that many of

greenhouse gas emissions through increasing their

us are frustrated with

use of renewables, selling agricultural carbon

governments and have

sequestration credits, and encouraging efficient

stopped participating and/or

energy use.

taking an interest in the th

political process altogether. It

California (the 6 largest economy th

is easy to feel that the rich and powerful interests overpower our voices and that there is very little point in speaking up. Never assume that your vote and voice doesn’t count. The 2000 U.S. Federal Election clearly proved that every vote does count with only 537 votes determining who became president. We have reached a point where our

and the 12 largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world) is an example of one U.S. state that has set its own targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Scientists and economists in the state of California reported that if California continued on in a business as usual

Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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fashion regarding global warming, it would suffer

output came from renewable sources in 2005. Land

from 30% to 90% less drinking water, more wildfires

outside a town in Moura has been allocated to build

and risks to agriculture in the near future. Based on

the largest solar wind farm in the world. This project

these alarming findings, the California legislature

is expected to benefit the community and create over

enacted tough new laws (The Global Warming

1000 jobs in a shire that currently has 900 people

Solutions Act) that impose a cap on greenhouse gas

unemployed. Portugal is showing the rest of the

emissions. Major industries in California will be

world that we can make the switch to renewables

forced to cut their output of greenhouse gases.

and the economy doesn’t have to suffer.

California’s target is a 25% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and it is hoped that their efforts will inspire other states and the Federal Government to follow in their low carbon footsteps.

Australia and America are screaming out for a change of government and it won’t happen unless we properly educate ourselves about the issues (check out to explore issues) and

The Portuguese government has become a

candidates (

renewable energy champion after years of being

through trustworthy sources (TV

dependant on other countries for coal, gas and oil.

commercials and unsolicited mail

Prime Minister Jose Socrates has a goal that

don’t count). Political change

renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and

won’t happen unless you vote, so

wave power account for nearly half of the electricity

make sure you do it!

consumed in Portugal by 2010. This is certainly an achievable target since 36% of Portugal’s electricity © 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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human beings who are aware of global warming. We also know we should be doing something about it right now. But are we? Some of us are, but many of us aren’t. Social science research tells us that merely

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. -Charles Darwin

gaining a general awareness of environmental issues such as global warming and changing attitudes towards the environment will not necessarily lead to people changing their behaviour. What needs to be done to propel us into action? A review of several energy conservation programs

Australians and Americans are amongst the highest greenhouse gas

found that the following strategies make a difference in changing peoples’ behaviours.

polluters per capita in the world, with

Energy Audits: An energy audit is a cheap and easy

Australia emitting 28 tonnes per person

way to reduce your carbon footprint. It’s a way of

and America emitting 25 tonnes per person annually

providing you with feedback on what you’re doing

(In comparison, China’s emissions are approximately

right in terms of conserving energy and what can be

2 tonnes per person and India’s emissions are only 1

improved. A professional energy auditor visits your

tonne per person). Most of us are intelligent, capable

home, school and/or workplace, looks at your energy

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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consumption and shows you the different ways you

computers, turning off appliances at the power point

can save energy and money.

and getting rid of a fridge that we hardly ever used.

Studies have been performed on the

Pledge: Making a pledge (an oral

effectiveness of energy audits in

or written commitment or

reducing peoples’ consumption. One

promise) to change your

study took two groups of households

behaviour and reduce your greenhouse gas

in which one group was given energy

emissions can be a powerful action. One study found

audits and the other group received no audits.

the households that made a commitment to conserve

Researchers found that households who were given

energy by 10% and received information on how to

the energy audits reduced their household electricity

do it, saved more energy in comparison to those that

use by 21% more than the other group.

didn’t commit to conserving energy.

Many local councils are now providing free energy

Al Gore created the Live Earth Pledge, which states:

audits to households or you can get one done by a private organization. These audits pay for themselves easily. My family had an energy audit done last year and we saved AUD$96 on our electricity bill in just the first month through making

I PLEDGE: 1. To demand that my country join an international treaty within the next 2 years that cuts global warming pollution by 90% in developed countries

simple changes such as switching off our home

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and by more than half worldwide in time for the next

7. To buy from businesses and support leaders who

generation to inherit a healthy earth;

share my commitment to solving the climate crisis and building a sustainable, just, and prosperous

2. To take personal action to help solve the climate


world for the 21 century.

crisis by reducing my own CO2 pollution as much as I can and offsetting the rest to become “carbon

You can sign up and print out this powerful pledge at


3. To fight for a moratorium on the construction of any new generating facility that burns coal without the capacity to safely trap and store the CO2; 4. To work for a dramatic increase in the energy efficiency of my home, workplace, school, place of worship, and means of transportation; 5. To fight for laws and policies that expand the use of renewable energy sources and reduce dependence on oil and coal; 6. To plant new trees and to join with others in preserving and protecting forests; and © 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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Rewards: The presence of rewards

screen). The rewards also don’t have to be financial

can influence you and the people

or material. Terry Power and Dr Peter Dingle in their

around you to take action and sustain

book Goal Getting: The Science of Achieving Goals

positive behaviour change. My friend,

discuss how some of the simplest things in life can

Esther Duffy, led a sustainable living program called

be the best rewards.

Living Smart. One of the participants in her program complained that she had trouble motivating her children to turn the lights off once they left each room. Esther encouraged this woman to offer her children any money that was saved from the electricity bill. At the next session, Esther asked her what the result had been. ‘We have been living in complete darkness’ was the participant’s response. The use of rewards had clearly worked!

Here are a range of different rewards and incentives you can give to yourself and family for reducing your carbon/ecological footprint: 1. Go for a trip to the beach 2. Have a cup of your favourite tea 3. Take a quiet, local holiday 4. Go dancing with your partner or friends 5. Watch a movie

Be careful choosing your rewards. You don’t want to have a reward that will defeat the purpose of your greenhouse gas reduction goal (i.e.

It may be rewarding in itself to simply know that you personally are treading lightly on the planet and doing your best to look after it.

a plane flight abroad or a new plasma TV screen that emits more greenhouse gases than your previous © 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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Modeling: Admired individuals (i.e.

It has been shown scientifically that the above

celebrities) modeling ideal energy

strategies make a difference to reducing personal

conserving beliefs and practices can

energy use. Try them out and see; you have nothing

be incredibly influential and

to lose but greenhouse gases!

motivating for some people. Cameron Diaz, Leonardo Dicaprio, Robert Redford and Melissa

Mental and Physical Health

Etheridge are just a few celebrities that have made changes to their lives to reduce their carbon footprint.

If we don’t look after ourselves, how will we be able to look after the planet?

Goal setting: This is one of the

It is important that we take care of our

most effective strategies you can

mental and physical health so we can

apply to help you achieve results in

be as effective as possible.

all areas of your life (the environment, health, relationships, career, etc). Setting your own goals helps you to stay focused and take the actions you need to take (More on this strategy in Chapter 8).

Learning about global warming, speaking to people about it and taking actions to combat it can be a stressful and upsetting activity at times. I spoke to over 100 teenagers and teachers recently about what they could do to combat global warming. To realise that very few of them seemed to care about the future was incredibly disheartening. Did this

Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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experience stop me from speaking out in schools?

this’, ‘I’m stupid’ and ‘It won’t make a difference’).

No way!

These negative thoughts often lead to negative feelings (i.e. anger, frustration and sadness) and

Several months ago I went out to lunch with some friends and they were talking about their plans to travel the world. I mentioned how harmful air travel was for the atmosphere and suggested they consider

negative behaviours (i.e. give up, swear out loud and violence). If you’re not fully convinced, take a look at the negative and positive statements on the next page:

carbon offsetting their flights. When I saw my friend roll her eyes at my suggestion, ignore the question and then change the subject by asking if there was

Negative Statements

Positive Statements

I should

I can

I could

I am

I would

I choose

I want

I have

I can’t

I create

I’m a loser

I’m a winner

salt in the dish in front of her, I felt disheartened and embarrassed that I had even made the suggestion. Did this stop me from speaking about carbon offsetting in the future? Of course not, but it may have, had I not known how to deal with the stress and emotions that were coming up for me. There are lots of different ways you can reduce stress in your life. Watching your thinking is one way. Often what we say to ourselves is negative (i.e. ‘I can’t do © 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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I have observed that saying the negative statements

yoga and/or tai chi, exercise and

above can have a devastating effect on your mood.

breathe deeply. I have experimented

Negative thoughts will simply make us feel bad and it

with all of these, and found what works

will be counterproductive to us making a difference.

best for me is doing weight training and

So start to watch your thinking and if it’s negative

aerobic exercise several times a week.

(the statements above can help you to identify this) try to replace those thoughts with neutral or positive thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying never ever expose yourself to negative news and events and pretend that everything is absolutely fabulous in the world. My point is that most of the time many of us put ourselves down. This is unnecessary and will hold us back from making a difference. As an experiment, try repeating out loud the positive statements in the right hand column of the table above and see the effect this has on your mood. Other ways that will help you to relieve stress are to have massages, laugh regularly, meditate, practise © 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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Step 1: Get clear on what it is you want


to achieve (your goal) Do you want to reduce you household electricity use

You will recognize your own path when

by 20%? Do you want to simplify your life so you are

you come upon it, because you will

less of a slave to time and material goods? Perhaps


you would like to be someone who inspires other to






imagination you will ever need

start acting in environmentally responsible ways. There are endless possibilities for what you can

- Jerry Gillies

create and it is time to start exploring these. But what if you have no idea? You are so used to

As mentioned in the previous chapter, goal setting

things being as they are and you can’t imagine life

will help you to stay focused and take the actions you

being any different. One of my Psychology university

need to take to help combat global warming.

lecturers, Alex Main, recommended the following strategy to me.

How does one set goals effectively? Here is one way you can do it.

1. Look at the lives of the people whom you admire (at least one person must be someone you know personally).

Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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2. Pinpoint what it is about that person(s) whom you really admire. What are his or her

also be someone who walks the talk when it comes to making a difference to the environment.

admirable characteristics? At first, you may feel a bit funny exploring what you For me, I first looked at my Japanese friend, Takeshi. Takeshi has a lot of energy and passion for the environment and sharing its wonder with others. He is a great teacher whose mind and heart are so open! Anything and everything is possible for Takeshi. I also admire our local sustainability consultant, Ben Rose. Ben is someone whose actions speak louder than his words. He has halved his household’s greenhouse gas emissions and adopted a simpler, more fulfilling way of life. Ben now coaches and inspires families to do the same. From looking at the lives of these two inspiring people, I can see that I want to help people wake up and start taking global warming seriously. I want to © 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

want, as the cynic in you may be saying ‘nah, don’t be stupid. It’s not possible!’ or you may even be thinking ‘my life is fine just the way it is’. Just be aware of what your critical inner voice is saying, thank the little voice for sharing and carry on exploring what you want for your life. If you have trouble doing this activity, here are a few questions to help you start thinking about the type of things you may want to create. 1. Would you like the problem of global warming to be fixed? 2. Would you like to contribute to help solve the problem? 3. Would you like to be part of the solution to the problem? Page 74

4. Would you like to help others learn more about global warming?

15. Would you like to get into activism or politics?

5. Would you like to join an environmental organisation? 6. Would you like to catch public transport more often? 7. Would you like to speak out in public about global warming? 8. Would you like to reduce your household electricity and gas? 9. Would you like to own a fuel efficient vehicle? 10. Would you like to eat more healthy, organic, vegetarian meals? 11. Would you like to buy less and save more? 12. Would you like to spend more time with you friends and family? 13. Would you like to do some volunteer work? 14. Would you like to identify your life purpose?

Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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Step 2: Write it down

Step 3: Make sure your goal(s) meets the criteria

Once you are clear on what you want, write it down immediately! According

You can increase your chances of achieving your

to scientific studies, the simple act of

goal by making sure it meets the following criteria:

writing down your goals increases your chances of achieving them. Researchers at

Present Tense: Studies have

Yale University took a group of 400 graduating

revealed that the mind doesn’t know

students and instructed these students to write down

the difference between what is real

their goals. Only 3% of the 400 students actually

and what is vividly imagined. An

wrote down their lifelong goals in a specific manner.

example of this can be seen in

20 years later, all the students met for a reunion.

Olympic athletes and bodybuilders.

What the researchers found was the group who had

When they visualise themselves executing a

written down their goals seemed a lot happier than

particular exercise, they have the same brain activity

the others and were more successful than all of the

as when they actually perform the exercise. Simply

other 97% combined. So, if in doubt, write it out!

by saying ‘I am reducing my carbon footprint’ instead of ‘I will reduce my carbon footprint’ makes it seem more real and more likely that you will do it.

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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Specific (clear and concise):

Time: the time spent in the shower, time spent reading and educating yourself and

Specific goals help you to

others on global warming, time spent

establish crystal clear focus and

volunteering every week, etc.

drive. Vague goals are like sightseeing in Rome without having a map. You may eventually stumble

across the Colosseum and the statue of David, but it

Electricity: you can measure the amount of household electricity used by reading your

will take you longer and be a lot harder to get there

energy meter box or power bill.

than it should have been. Vague goals also make it harder to know the precise point when you have actually achieved the goal.

Money: you can calculate the amount of money you spend and save every week by

Measurable: By being able to measure your goal (e.g. the amount of electricity and gas saved on your bill) you

cutting back on eating and drinking at fast food outlets/restaurants/cafes/hotels, buying unnecessary goods, etc.

will know whether you have achieved your goal or not for the obvious reason that you will be able to measure it. Below are some of the different things

Achievable: If your goal is totally

you can measure:

unreasonable and not achievable, you will start to stress out, put yourself under unnecessary

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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pressure and lose motivation. The stress may

pollution’, what images

become too much, things will start to seem too hard

immediately jump to mind?

and there is a good chance you will want to give up.

Images of a car and pollution.

Some examples of unachievable goals are:

These images hardly inspire me and empower my

‘I am bringing the Tasmanian tiger back from extinction’: The Tasmanian tiger is a species

behaviour change. Instead I could set myself this goal:

that is sadly gone for good. ‘I am catching public transport into the city. As a result, I get to enjoy reading interesting books, I feel •

‘I am going to stop the one degree rise in

calmer and the air is cleaner’

global temperature’: Unfortunately a one degree rise in global temperature is

How do I feel after setting this goal? Pretty good!

inevitable according to reports by the IPCC.

When I think about this goal, positive images of myself enjoying the day and a healthier planet spring to mind (and not having to worry about the traffic and

Positive: Positive goals make us feel good not only

finding a parking spot!).

when we achieve them but while we are thinking about them and also working towards achieving

Time Limit: Dr James Hansen (Leading

them. If I set myself the following goal ‘I am not

Scientist at NASA) says we have less

driving my car into the city in order to decrease my

than 10 years to do something about

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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global warming before we reach the point of no

Below is an example of one of my personal goals:

return. If we don’t set clear deadlines for our goals, th

chances are we may never achieve them in the small space of time we have available. Having a time limit means you clearly know when you have or haven’t achieved your goal. The time limit will motivate you to stop procrastinating and take action. Putting it all together You can follow this simple formula to create goals.

It is now the 24 November, 2007 I have delivered my presentation ‘Global Warming: Too Hot to Handle?’ to over 1000 students. They are making changes to their lives and lowering their energy usage. Now take some time to set some of your own goals in the space below

It is now__________________________________ (Insert future date when I have achieved my goal) I am/I have________________________________ (Insert the last step you need to take to know you have achieved your goal)

It is now__________________________________ I am/ I have _______________________________ It is now __________________________________ I am/ I have _______________________________

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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It is now ___________________________________

goals, you are going to make yourself feel sick and overwhelmed. It is only through achieving all your

I am/ I have ________________________________

Step 4: Break it down Imagine your favourite burger. Juicy and bursting with flavour! How would you normally eat it? Most people would eat a burger one bite at a time. If you were to eat it all in one mouthful, you would not enjoy the taste, you would make yourself

short term goals (your bite sized pieces) which can be done right here and now, that you will be able to achieve your long term goals (the big, juicy burger). This is where so many people get stuck in life. They set a big goal for themselves and they don’t break it down into smaller steps. Why do you think people would stop at this stage? They get overwhelmed, they start to think ‘it’s all too hard’ and then they give up.

sick and probably would not want to eat another burger anytime soon.

What’s the solution? You may want to try this clever strategy. Imagine a movie has been made of you

Now goal setting works the same way. You have your long term goal (a goal that can be achieved at some point in the future) and then you have your short term goals (goals you can achieve in the near future such as today or tomorrow). If you don’t break down your long term goals into smaller, short term © 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

achieving your goal (the goal can be however big or small you want it to be). You are sitting back, eating some popcorn and watching the ending of this movie. You finally reach the part where you have done what you have always wanted to do. You have achieved your goal! It’s your victorious moment. You Page 80

have helped the earth in some way (perhaps your

Step 5: Visualisation

children and grandchildren are cheering with joy and applauding you). Notice how it feels. Then all of a

Visualisation can help us

sudden someone presses the rewind button on the

to achieve our goals. The

remote control and you see yourself moving

latest research into

backwards in time. You observe all the small steps

visualisation reveals that

you had to take to reach your goal, you see the

your mind can’t tell the

dramas of coming up against obstacles (perhaps

difference between an

apathy and cynicism from others), all the hard work

activity you visualise and

as well as the satisfaction of completing the smaller

one you actually perform. Researchers at Ohio State


University tested out this idea. They took a group of basketball players and split them up into three

What you are doing is a process called top down

teams. Each group was given a basketball and told

planning. Imagine yourself at the end, having

to shoot foul shots. The players’ scores were then

achieved your goal and then work backwards up until

recorded as a baseline measure. The first group was

this point in time, seeing all the steps you need to

then told to practice shooting foul shots for 30


minutes a day for 30 days. The second group had to visualise themselves shooting foul shots for 30 minutes a day for 30 days, however they couldn’t actually shoot any shots. The third group couldn’t

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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practice shooting any foul shots and couldn’t

Does this study tell us that we can just sit there, hold

visualise themselves doing so either. What did the

hands and collectively visualise a reduction in

researchers find after 30 days? Who had improved

greenhouse gases and it will happen? That would be

the most?

nice, but visualisation on its own isn’t the solution to global warming. It can however help all of us to

The group who didn’t practice and didn’t visualise

achieve our goals with more confidence and ease.

showed no improvement. The group who only imagined themselves shooting but never picked up a

Step 6: Take Action

ball improved by 27%. The group who practiced shooting but didn’t visualise improved by 28%. That’s

What else do you need to do after you have created

only 1% difference! This demonstrates the power of

an effective goal, written it down, broken it down into

visualising yourself taking the actions you need to

bite sized pieces and visualised yourself carrying it

take. If you make your visualisation as realistic as

out? You need to take immediate action. You are

possible by involving all of your senses (feeling the

either taking action towards your goal or you are not

appropriate feelings, hearing the appropriate sounds,

taking action. Now I don’t know about you, but for me

tasting the appropriate tastes and smelling the

this has always been the hardest part. If I had an

appropriate smells) then you will increase your

assignment to do or project to complete, I would

chances of success.

clean my room, check my email, rearrange my desk, I would tell myself ‘It’s too hard’ and I would do or say anything I could to avoid getting started! What would happen is I would either have two days to

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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write a 3,000 word essay or I would have missed the

there, I go onto write a second and a third…before I

opportunity altogether. Often I would feel stressed

know it I have written a significant amount of the

out and disappointed in myself.

essay. Once the action has started and you have some momentum, the rest flows with incredible ease.

The key to getting started is to set yourself the smallest,

Step 7: Keeping your goal alive

easiest goal to achieve. Let’s say you want to have

Treat your goals as you would

a home energy audit

treat your precious pets. What do

performed on your house. You can start by setting

I mean by this? Let’s say one day

yourself the following goal ‘I am picking up the phone

I woke up and decided ‘I really

and booking a home energy audit’ or ‘I am on the

can’t be bothered feeding my dog

internet and googling the words home energy audit’.

anymore. I can’t be bothered patting her or giving her

Once you have made the call or googled the words,

a wash. From now on she can look after herself’

it will propel you onto do another action and then

What would happen to my dog? She would die!

another. Before you know it you will have completed

Similarly, if I don’t nurture my goals, feed them, look

dozens of environmentally friendly actions. This

after them and do something for them everyday they

technique has also helped me to complete university

will die too. The situation for our planet will stay the

assignments well before their due dates, simply by

same or most probably get worse.

setting myself the goal ‘I am writing one sentence of this essay’. After writing one sentence I don’t stop © 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 83

How can you keep your goals alive? Many people create visual displays of the future they want, some type out their goals in large font and put them in a place where they can see them everyday. Famous actor and comedian, Jim Carey, kept a fake $10,000,000 cheque in his wallet for 10 years and looked at it on a daily basis. Whilst I’m not suggesting ‘Let’s strive to acquire more wealth!’ this was a powerful strategy that kept Jim focused on what he was up to in life. We can do the same when it comes to creating a healthier, happier world.

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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pollinate our food and oxygen to keep us alive.



Michael Ableman states ‘Most of our society…no longer knows what it’s like to pull a carrot from the ground, or eat the heart out of a watermelon still warm from the sun, or munch on beans that are so fresh that they explode in your mouth’. In the western

It is astonishing how short a time

world we are able to go to the shops and buy

it takes for very wonderful thing

whatever food we desire off the shelf. Professor

to happen

Hiroshi Takatsuki says in his book Picturecology that we live our lives under the false illusion that we have -Frances Burnett

no connection to the natural world, when indeed we do.

If you live in the city surrounded by concrete walls, chances are you may not have spent much time out in the sun, feeling the rain and connecting with nature. Subsequently, many of us may take for granted the various hidden services nature provides. For instance, we rely on bees to

If you don’t care about nature or feel connected to it, you probably won’t look after it. It is similar to human health. Someone who doesn’t care about their health may smoke, drink lots of alcohol and caffeine, eat fatty foods, not exercise and is likely to expose their body to other

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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harmful activities. Whereas an individual who is

How does one develop an

strongly connected to their body will care and pay

awareness and connection with

attention to it, making sure they eat nutritious foods

nature? There are countless ways

and engage in regular physical activity. Similarly, it is

to do this and it doesn’t have to

only through developing an awareness and

involve hugging trees and worm

connection with the natural world that you will be

farming (I understand these

compelled to start acting in environmentally

activities aren’t for everyone). Unfortunately, there

responsible ways.

are no quick fixes. What you will need is time to develop a connection with nature. Discovering the Connecting with nature (noticing the plants and animals around you) can benefit us in amazing ways, yet very few of us actually enjoy a deep connection with

wonders of the natural world cannot be rushed, forced or learnt out of a text book. It must be experienced first hand in a slow, relaxed fashion. You have to begin by looking and studying what is going on around you.

nature. Nature provides us with a source of energy and inspiration. It allows us to

Spending time in a forest is a great place to start.

focus our thinking, stimulates our imagination,

One of my good friends, Sheena, grew up in an

sharpens our senses and releases worry and stress.

apartment in Singapore and for most of her life she had very little exposure to forest and bushland. A few months ago she stayed at a lodge in the southwest forest of Western Australia for the weekend. It was

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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the first time she had been out in the wilderness and

an alternative school. I helped Takeshi do a range of

it blew her mind. She went bush walking and

things: teach English classes, make organic rice

canoeing, and couldn’t stop telling me how beautiful

crackers, garden and clean. In exchange for this, I

and relaxing it had been. It was as if she didn’t know

got to learn about how Takeshi came to love the land

that such things existed! The good news is that you

and how he wanted to make a difference in the

don’t have to come to Western Australia to have a

world. The great news is you don’t have to travel

liberating experience like my friend did. There are

very far to WWOOF. You can pay a small

places all around you waiting to be explored.

subscription fee and start WWOOFing within your own state (

WWOOFing (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) is a fun way for you to develop your connection with

Pack a picnic and go

nature as well as travel cheaply at the same time.

spend some time at a

WWOOF is a series of host properties you can visit

waste dump. When you

and exchange your ideas and culture while working

get there take a deep

for four to six hours per day for food and

breath in and good look at your surroundings. When

accommodation. Most WWOOF hosts are small

you put something in the bin, it doesn’t just go away.

properties located in the country that grow food

It goes somewhere, in landfill. When I visited Japan

organically (without chemicals). The work will vary

last year I was shocked at how many people would

depending on where you choose to go. Last year, I

throw away near new appliances and items simply

went WWOOFing in a small town in Japan. My host,

because they bought a newer, flashier model. My

Takeshi, was an organic farmer and the principal of

brother discovered a brand new bicycle had been

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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thrown away because it had had a flat tyre!

absolutely incredible. I eventually stumbled across a

Sometimes you need to be shocked to change. A

run down hut and ordered some simple udon

waste dump will give you the shock you need to

noodles in broth (they tasted extra delicious). Some

move towards creating a healthier, happier way of

elderly women noticed I was exhausted and offered


me cups of green tea and chocolates. This simple gesture was so touching. It was getting late so I Go for a walk. Carl Honore in his best selling book In praise of SLOW points out ‘When we walk, we are aware of the details around us – birds, trees, the

sky, shops and houses, other people. We make connections’. I found this to be true in Japan when I

decided to take the cable car back down the hill. All I can remember is sitting in the isolated, cold, dirty cable car on my own and contrasting the experience to my walk. I felt disconnected from the rich environment I had just experienced and was grateful when the cable car journey was over.

had the option of taking a cable car to get to the top of a mountain (15 minute journey) or walking up a

Grow a plant and watch it grow.

mountain (2 hour journey). I was running low on cash

Listen to your surroundings. Sit

at the time so I decided to walk up the mountain. I

down and paint a picture of a

saw the greenest, brightest moss on rocks, deers,

plant or animal. As you begin to

heard birds singing and even saw a screaming

slow down and become more

monkey 20 metres away! There wasn’t a single

aware of things occurring in the

human being in sight. When I got to the top of the

natural environment, you will be amazed by how

mountain, I was exhausted but the view was

much joy you will experience from some of the

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 89

simplest things in life. For myself, I started noticing

You may have read the last few line and thought ‘that

wonderful quendas (a native Australian bandicoot)

sounds nice’ and like many things in life you have

running around my university campus. I also noticed

good intentions to develop yourself and engage in

that my pet chickens didn’t just sit around all day but

different activities but life often gets in the way. You

they liked to jump up to snatch low hanging grapes

may tell yourself ‘One day I will go camping on the

off vines, come running when my mum would call

weekend’ or ‘Someday I will start painting’ and more

them, come back to their pen at night and be

often than not, it never happens. ‘One day’ keeps

extremely curious about everything in our garden. I

getting pushed further and further into the future. We

never could have imagined that watching these

can’t act in a ‘one day, someday’ manner because

simple creatures would be so amazing!

the climate isn’t going to stop and wait for us. We must develop our connection and start taking actions

There are many other things you can do to develop

quickly to get our lives and houses in order.

your connection with nature. One thing is for sure, the more you develop your connection to it, the deeper your experience of life will be. You will become happier. You will also have more energy to do what you can to address global warming.

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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Evangelical Christian leaders are one example. Over 85 evangelical leaders including Presidents of evangelical

We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to a big difference that we often cannot foresee - Marian Wright Edelman

colleges, leaders of aid groups and churches have backed a major initiative, The Evangelical Climate Initiative (, to fight global warming. The Statement of the Evangelical Call to Action declares ‘Christians must care about climate change because they love God the Creator and Jesus our

You may know people who drive around town in big

Lord, through whom and for whom the creation was

gas guzzling cars and constantly brag about their

made. This is God’s world, and any damage that we

next trip overseas. Seeing and hearing these things

do to God’s world is an offence against God Himself

may make you cringe, feel disheartened and want to

(Gen. 1; Ps. 24; Col. 1:16)’. There is also a biblically

give up. But please don’t. There are a growing

inspired environment movement called ‘creation

number of people and groups who are trading in their

care’, which is based on the idea that Christians

big cars for smaller, fuel efficient vehicles and

have an obligation as described in the Book of

changing their behaviours to help the environment.

Genesis to ‘replenish the earth’ as god’s stewards.

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 92

Prominent religious leader,

Chrysler and Nissan) asking

Pope Benedict XVI, is doing

to be compensated for the

his bit for global warming.

damage the emissions have

Last year he urged his

caused and are causing to

followers not to squander the world’s resources and

human health, the economy and environment. The

now he is installing photovoltaic solar panels on the

state of California alleged emissions from the cars

roof of the Paul VI auditorium in Vatican City. The

made by the six firms account for 30% of all of

solar panels will generate enough power to light,

California’s CO2 and 9% of the world’s total CO2

heat or cool the auditorium which sits 6,300 people.

emissions. This year the U.S. Supreme Court also

He is also considering installing solar panels on other

ruled that CO2 is a pollutant, and therefore can be

buildings (with the exception of St Peter’s Basilica

regulated under the Clean Air Act.

and other historical landmarks). Several lawsuits have also taken place in Australia. th

The law can be a powerful and effective tool to bring

On the 7 November 2006, the Queensland

about climate change protection. Over the last few

Conservation Council lodged an objection to the

years lawsuits have been brought against

proposed expansion of a coal mine by Xstrata Coal

governments, fossil fuel industries and automotive

Qld Pty Ltd. The expansion would result in 28.5

manufacturers in an attempt to make them

million tonnes of coal being produced and 84 million

responsible for their contribution to the climate crisis.

tonnes of greenhouse gases would be released from

The state of California sued six car manufacturing

mining, transporting and using the coal. It was

firms (General Motors, Toyota, Ford, Honda,

argued that this amount of greenhouse gas

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 93

emissions would contribute significantly to global

bring like-minded people together to work on projects

warming. Queensland Conservation Council wanted

that make a difference to local communities.

reasonable conditions imposed on the mine to mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, the Queensland Land & Resource Tribunal who heard the case dismissed the objection and recommended that the mine be approved without placing any conditions on emissions.

Rupert Murdoch (controlling shareholder, chairman and managing director of the largest media conglomerate, News Corporation)

Recently, Friends of the Earth (Canada) sued the

recently announced his

Canadian Government for having abandoned its

intention to be carbon neutral across all his

international commitment under the Kyoto Protocol to

businesses by 2100. Murdoch stated in his inspiring

reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Canada’s

speech that the first step towards accomplishing this

greenhouse gas emissions are presently 34% above

goal was to measure his carbon footprint (In 2006

their 6% reduction target set by Kyoto.

Murdoch’s empire had a carbon footprint of 641,150 tonnes). The second step is to switch to using

Grassroots action groups are being formed all over the world. Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots ( and GetUp! ( are examples of organisations that © 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

renewable energy sources and the third step is to offset any greenhouse gas emissions (if necessary). Just imagine what would be possible if all the news organisations became carbon neutral? ‘It will be the same as turning off all the electricity in the city of Page 94

London for five full days’ said Murdoch. What would

Schools have begun to empower students to

be possible if all corporations (not just news

conserve energy and help others to do the same. At

corporations) took on this challenge? Murdoch is

Mary E. Silveira School in San Rafael, California, a

quick to point out that by reducing his use of energy

group of students (The energy team) conduct energy

it also reduces his costs. It is a win-win situation.

audits and write notes to teachers, reminding them to turn off their lights and computers when a class goes

Wal-mart (a business with more than 7,000 stores and 1.8 million employees) has pledged to install solar panels, conserve water and start using hybrid vehicles. It has also asked its 60,000 suppliers to make an effort to reduce packaging, waste and energy use. By 2020, Wal-mart is expected to save $494 million a year by adopting energy efficient behaviours (i.e. using fuel efficient truck fleets and building stores that are more energy efficient).

out for lunch. But it doesn’t stop there. The school’s energy team joined the Affordable Communities Energy Education program and spent 2003-2004 working with local senior citizens in a housing facility. School Principal Jeanne Casella said of the program ‘The kids put up energy-reminder signs and doorknob bookmarks in English and Spanish, and helped the residents to replace traditional light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs and to take other simple actions. They saved the seniors about 5 percent on their energy bills while learning about energy efficiency themselves’. Not only did the seniors benefit from the experience, but th

so did the children. 5 grade member of the energy © 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 95

team, Sara Lee, said ‘We go around to the

Start with something easily do-able like changing to

apartments checking that the lights are off and on, so

natural power [green power], changing to compact

that we can save them money on their energy bill.

fluorescent light bulbs and low flow shower heads (if

The money they save goes to the fun stuff they do’.

you haven’t already done so). Once you make the

Children feel great when they can help someone and

changes you’ll find it’ll give you more quality of life,

make a difference at the same time.

not less. But be concerned, be fearful enough to keep making changes – keep your emissions

We’re at a turning point where more and more people, groups and corporations are catching onto the need to take action to leave behind a healthy planet for the next generation. No longer can we use the lame excuses ‘No one else is doing anything, so why should I?’ and ‘It’s going to cost too much’ because they’re simple not true. Each of us now has a moral and ethical duty to take action to reduce our

trending down. Aim to halve your emissions in two years; use the greenhouse gas calculator ( to keep track of your emissions. Be afraid of the consequences of ‘business as usual’; there’s a lot at stake – the future of human civilisation. The only way we will get there is one by one, each changing our ways and encouraging each other.

greenhouse gas emissions. We have a moment. Let’s use this moment to make Finally, I’d like to leave you with the inspiring words

a difference.

of sustainability consultant, Ben Rose. His advice to us all regarding the climate challenge is as follows:

© 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

Page 96


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Š 2007 Jane Genovese. All rights reserved.

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